In the latest edition of his Human Podcast Machine internet show, Taz holds forth on his split from TNA. After six years with Dixie Carter's promotion, the announcer and occasional storyline character parted ways with the company this week amidst numerous stories and rumors about late pay and network meddling in booking decisions.
Overall, Taz is extremely professional. He says that he asked for and was granted his release, although he says that TNA did want to work through their issues and keep him in the fold, including a new contract when his latest one was set to expire this Summer. While he didn't go into any details outside of continuing to work on the podcast with his partners at CBS radio - "I was looking to move on and do other things."
Though not the only issue that contributing to his departure, late pay issues were a factor. Taz was clear that he has now been paid, and also attributed the problems with checks to the previously reported communication issues involved in moving payroll from Nashville, Tennessee where TNA is headquartered and Dallas, Texas, where Bob Carter's Panda Energy is located. That doesn't mean he was happy about it, though:
My check was late, and I had to do what I had to do. The company was understanding in that. They understood my position. They were very professional, very kind, very understanding...business is business. This is how I pay my bills and I feed my family, for over 20 years. It's well documented - and it seems like they're fixing that now - that my funds were not arriving to the house, and were very late. I did a service, I wasn't paid for that service. I gave them a notice - they knew ahead of time that I wasn't going to come, and they were awesome about it. They were apologetic about it.
Other than the timeliness of the checks, Taz says pay wasn't a primary factor in his leaving. But it certainly sounds like he believes he can make more money elsewhere. But again, if that's working for another wrestling company or just a combination of ventures he can pursue now, he doesn't specify:
I was very happy with the money I was making. I have no complaint with the money I was making. I would not have stayed in TNA for as long as I did if they weren't taking care of me. Did I feel like I could have been making more money? Absolutely. We all feel like that. Everybody wants a raise, all the time. That's not why I left. Financially I was very happy there.
A rumor went around that there were ongoing issues with his new commentary partner Josh Mathews. Taz remains very close to his old play-by-play man, Mike Tenay, and says that he and The Professor will continue to work together on Human Podcast Machine if nowhere else. But while he ackowledges there were disagreements with Mathews, he says they got along and that also did not play a role in his exit:
Me leaving TNA had absolutely nothing to do with my relationship with Josh Matthews. It's not true. I've worked with Josh for a long time. Did we have a fallout? Yes we had a fallout. Did it have anything to do with me leaving TNA? No. Why can't two guys have an argument, or disagree, or end a friendship and people gotta speculate that's why they left? I've wrestled guys that hated me, personally. And I've hated some of them. And we went out and had magic, and wrestled and drew money, and busted our ass and took care of each other. I've wrestled many guys that didn't like me. It's called business. While I was working with Josh I had zero problems with him.
Throughout, his tone is cordial, but as we saw when Steve Austin cleared the air about his issues with WWE, in wrestling, everyone leaves a little room for interpretation - because having your name on people's lips is good for business. At least in this case, it is for Taz. So when he says, "I had a very positive experience. It had its ups and downs," or when his comment on Creative is, "give these creative teams a break guys. It's not an easy task," there's going to be fans of all stripes interpreting those comments.
And it sounds like that's what we'll get out of Taz for now. At least until rumors start coming out from those meeting he says he has coming up in New York soon...
What do you think, Cagesiders? Do Taz's comments put to rest concerns about finances or Destination America calling the shots? Is his departure a big loss for Impact? Do you think we'll see the former Paul Heyman Guy show back up in WWE?